March 9, 2011 / 7:34 PM / 9 years ago

Aid ship reaches Libya, food trucks on way - WFP

LONDON (Reuters) - A ship carrying wheat flour arrived in the rebel-held Libyan port of Benghazi on Wednesday and trucks with more aid are due to reach the terminal in coming days, the World Food Programme (WFP) said.

Bangladeshi migrant workers fill cans with water to bath at the UNHCR refugee camp near the border crossing of Ras Jdir, after fleeing the violence in Libya March 9, 2011. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

Earlier this month the United Nations agency said food stocks in Libya were depleted and supply chains disrupted due to fighting between government and rebel forces in the country.

“The vessel is being discharged in Benghazi and it is carrying 1,182 metric tonnes of wheat flour,” WFP spokeswoman Caroline Hurford said on Wednesday.

That equates to enough wheat to make about 2.5 million loaves of bread and the WFP said it could feed nearly 95,000 people for a month.

The ship was turned back from the port last week due to security concerns, the WFP said.

Hurford said five trucks carrying 70 metric tonnes of fortified high-energy date bars, which crossed over from Egypt, were expected to arrive in Benghazi later in the day.

This would feed 5,000 people for a month, WFP said.

“Another convoy of five trucks carrying approximately the same amount of date bars has left Cairo for Benghazi,” she said.

“Tomorrow, another three trucks with more wheat flour are due to depart for Benghazi. So the food is clearly getting into Benghazi.”

Hurford said the aid cargoes will be the first deliveries of food assistance to enter into Libya by a UN agency.

Shipping sources said general cargo ports including Benghazi and the capital Tripoli, which is held by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, were open. Key oil terminals in the east of the country have closed due to heavy fighting.

U.N. aid coordinator Valerie Amos said on Monday fighting across Libya meant over a million people fleeing or inside the country needed humanitarian aid.

Hurford said apart from its activities in eastern Libya around Benghazi, the WFP was currently supporting over 40,000 people elsewhere — with 5,626 people on the Egyptian-Libyan Border and 37,000 people on the Tunisian-Libyan Border.

Reporting by Jonathan Saul; Editing by Sophie Hares

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